Former Cronulla Sharks coach and NRL Referees co-coach Stuart Raper will join the New South Wales Rugby League ranks next month (20 March) as Referee High Performance Manager, overseeing the NSWRL grade and junior representative squads.

Raper, 52, is currently the NSW State Manager at the Men of League Foundation and has been employed by NSWRL to manage referee recruitment, development and retention. Raper played for the Sharks in the mid 1980s before coaching the club between 2004-06. 

“I’m disappointed to be leaving such a great organisation in the Men of League Foundation but the opportunity to work with NSWRL was too good to pass up,” Raper said.

“Having worked with David Trodden (NSWRL CEO), Stuart Clark (NSWRL COO) and Barrie-Jon Mather (NSWRL General Manager - Football) throughout my time at the Men of League Foundation, I’ve been really impressed with the direction NSWRL is heading.

“The experience that I’ve had in the game as a player, coach and NRL referees coach is going to be beneficial in helping these officials become the best they possibly can.”

Raper will also work closely with the NSWRL Referees Association to identify and mentor talented referees into the districts.

NSWRL General Manager - Football, Barrie-Jon Mather, said: “It’s great to welcome a man who has a wealth of Rugby League knowledge and can assist in the development of our NSWRL grade and junior rep squads.”